Self-Publishing — The Emotional Component, Continued

My last post discussed some of the emotional baggage we carry that can hold us back from self-publishing our work. I’ve thought of a few more things I’d like to say on that topic.

I’m really interested in how the mind works (or doesn’t) and one interesting tidbit I’ve collected is that no matter how rational we like to think we are, our decisions are affected by our emotions.  No matter how much rational information you have, until the emotions line up, nothing happens. The funny thing is, this often happens under the covers. For example, I collected information about self-publishing until I was comfortable taking the next step.  I had to reach a tipping point where I wanted the opportunity presented by self-publishing, the potential, more than I valued the opinions of the nay-sayers. I decided that moving forward NOW, having control, was worth the additional work,  worth sacrificing some of the traditional markers of success like being recognized by professional writing organizations.

For those who haven’t also sold to advance paying publishers, chosing the self-publishing path results in exclusion from “The Club.”  No large professional writing organization that I know of (RWA, SFWA, MWA, HWA) recognizes self-published work.  Some specifically exclude it. (Disclosure:  I’m a member of RWA and despite not recognizing self-published authors, I highly recommend it.) If you’re self-pubbed you can still join some of these organizations,  but you won’t be recognized as published.  You can’t even attend the Ninc. conference unless you’ve had two books traditionally published.  Potentially losing the respect of the people I admire, of never being seen as a peer slowed me down for a while.  (Maybe I should submit to just one more agent, one more editor. . . .)  I didn’t even realize that wanting to be a member of “The Club” had been a part of my desire to be published until I thought about losing it.

Through  my research, I learned that there’s another club composed of knowledgeable and accomplished  people who have succeeded by going their own way, and they are not all the looser-wannabes that proponents of traditional publishing paint them to be. (It’s not superficial to need community.  We’re social animals, after all.)  Through my research I realized that the issue is not all one sided.  There are pros and cons to every choice — but for me, now, self-publishing provides a community I want to be part of.

I’m sharing my journey with you so you’ll find your comfort zone more quickly than I did.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Self-Publishing — The Emotional Component, Continued

  1. I’ve been busy researching this option myself. Like you, it’s taken a lot of research for me to get comfortable with the idea.

  2. Now that I have self-published my first book, I’ve found we are also excluded from inclusion in certain sites that allow reviewers to pick out books they’d like to review. It doesn’t matter that I have a backlist of titles with publishing houses.
    I’m very comfortable going it alone – and I’m not really alone, none of us are. We’re following in the footsteps of many other brave authors.
    I am enjoying reading about your journey very much.

    • Thank you, Julia! I’ve received so much support from authors like you that I don’t feel alone anymore. I’m glad to have you along on my journey!

      • Mary Jo

        I think it’s unfortunate that talented authors who choose to self-pub aren’t recognized by the organizations that encourage us and nurture us to write. I think you’ll be a trail-blazer and change that! I have so much for respect for the brave authors who pick up the challenge and self-pub. Thank you Frankie for sharing your journey, I’m anxious to learn more as your adventure continues.
        Mary Jo

      • Thanks for your support, Mary Jo! I think in time the smart organizations will find a way to acknowledge self-published authors. It’s either that, or slowly go the way of the dinosaurs.

  3. I’m enjoying your blog series a lot – and wish you tons of luck! Just for the record, I’m a proponent of traditional publishing…and would never think someone who self-published was a “loser-wannabe.” I admire anybody who puts themselves out there with writing…no matter which path they choose to do it. 🙂

  4. You rock Frankie. 🙂 Glad you’re taking whatever journey you want to take. That’s the important thing. What works for you is what is important. 🙂

  5. Frankie,
    Feel compelled to add– you will get to pay taxes on revenue from self-publishing, so you will be joining a big club of ‘schedule c’ers.
    best,
    Laura Russell

  6. The idea that organizations that refuse to find a way to acknowledge indie published authors/works will soon be left with just dinosaurs is hilarious! maybe they can get a bulk discount on this t-shirt for their remaining members:
    http://www.roadkilltshirts.com/I-PLAYED-WITH-DINOSAURS-AS-A-KIDFUNNY-T-SHIRT-P12697.aspx

    Brian

  7. I also am on the journey of self-publishing. I’ve been told by so many respectable names in the business, if you want to get published you have to write what sells. But how can it sell if no one’s willing to try and sell it because it’s not popular. It seems as if the publishing community created self publishers, sub-consciously by being afraid to say, “I like it, it’s not popular, but if I couldn’t put it down, I may not be the only one.”

    It’s all a business and writers are a business within themselves, and self-publsihing is a business decision some of us are willing to make.

    Mary G.

  8. You have expressed my thoughts and feelings perfectly. Not being part of ‘The Club’ represents the loss of a dream. I’m ready to go it myself now, but it took a long time and lots of encouragement from my self-published friends.

  9. Victoria though I'm publishing with my middle name Ann

    I read this blog today from a link in a digest. I’m so glad that I did. I’ve made the decision to self publish myself. In the Fall everything will be lined up proper. Reading your blog made me nod my head. I was just setting up a web site for myself. Thank you for writing this. It’s inspiring!

  10. Hi there,

    Just found your blog from the WordPress site, under “writing”. I completely agree that the ego, or emotional baggage can hold you back from doing a lot of things. Have you read a book called “Embracing Detachment” by Karen Casey? It is across this whole topic, and has a lot of inspirational advice for the reader.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Junie

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